Thursday, November 29, 2007

How we decorate for Christmas in the Middle of MO

After a yummy dinner of lasagna, polenta, salad, and garlic bread, the cousins headed out to decorate Grandpa's golf cart for the Christmas season. As the adults sat at the table contemplating dessert, the little elf cousins were busy stringing lights, garland, and hanging decorations. They even had Christmas music playing in the background. Monkey can multitask; he can chew on a piece of garlic bread while decorating. That's my boy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Countdown to Christmas

EDITED: Millerjk, I need your e-mail address. If you scroll down and look to the right, click on "View my complete profile", then click on e-mail on the left, you can send me an e-mail. If you are not millerjk, but still want a scripture list, please do the same. Thanks!

We love counting down to Christmas day, and what better way to do that countdown than with an advent calendar? My sister-in-law gave us this beautiful calendar several years ago that I fill with scriptures to tell the Christmas story. {If you are interested in a copy of them, comment or send an e-mail to me and I will get them to you. They are a Microsoft works word processor document, but I can copy them to wordpad, also. I don’t know how to convert them to an adobe document.}

The scriptures begin with Samuel’s prophecy in the Book of Mormon, Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem, the birth of Christ, and their flight into Egypt to escape King Herod. I always add this part. When I was young we would listen to a cassette tape of the Christmas story, and it always ended with Joseph and Mary escaping to Egypt with the Christ child, so that is how the story should go. At least to me. But you could just use mine as a springboard to create your own scriptures for your advent calendar. I roll each strip of paper with the scripture printed on it, then tie it with a ribbon and put them in the pockets.

I would also like to add some Christmas songs this year, such as “Samuel tells of Baby Jesus”, “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem”, “Away in a Manger”, etc., and “He Sent His Son” as the last song. It’s so beautiful I want to cry every time I hear it!

Here are some other ideas for advent calendars if you don’t have one already.

Christmas Countdown and some Christmas Coupons from the Friend Magazine.

And these beautiful houses from the Rouge de Garance blog could be used year after year. I'd make them, but I can't read French. Come to think of it, I can't speak French either!

Look below the scarecrows to see the adorable advent tree that Nini made for Green Parents magazine. What a great idea!

This easy advent calendar uses plastic wrap and ribbon.

Here is a fun homemade calendar from Family Fun.

And for 25 days of ideas check out this page from Each day has recipes, crafts, games, etc.
Find more great ideas at Scribbet's Winter Bazaar.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


We’ve spent this past week in a blur of activity, getting ready for Nonni and Bradley to arrive, school parties and preparations, cooking and cleaning, and seeing every last leaf fall from the huge oak tree in our yard.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Hands down. Forty {or so} of us gathered at my parents home for Thanksgiving dinner, eating ourselves into a mild food coma, enjoying one another’s company. One of our traditions is writing down what we are thankful for on a card, and then my sister Monie reads them all {keeping them anonymous, although it’s usually pretty obvious whose they really are.} The adults’ are sometimes funny or introspective or sentimental, but the kids’ are so cute! Some of the younger ones draw little pictures on them, too. Tara e-mailed hers from BYU, where she was spending Thanksgiving with friends.

Last year I put them all in this 6x6 scrapbook, along with some of the recipes we used. Guess I better get crackin’ on 2007’s.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Halloween highlights

Halloween is just a faint, candy-tinged memory, and Thanksgiving is looming just over the horizon, but I realized I did not post any pictures! I did not get great pictures, as usual, since Batman and Spiderman were going in completely different directions at all times, but we did have some fun.

Trunk-or-Treat at church on Friday the 26th, Recreation Center Party on Saturday, class parties on the 31st, and Trick-or Treating around the neighborhood {which pretty much consists of the whole town} that night.

This is my daughter, Sacajawea, who travelled with Lewis and Clark across the country with a baby strapped to her back. She also won best costume prize. Talk about multi-tasking!

And how about this sleepy spidey?

Oh, and have you met my neice, Wendy? She serves up awesome chocolate frosties at her fast-food restaurant, which are perfect for dipping the fries in.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Winter Bizarre

If September = Apples and October = Pumpkins
Then November = Cranberries!

That’s my kind of equation!

I Love Cranberries! And here are a few reasons why.

1. Andy’s friend Jeff has a cranberry farm in Banden, Oregon, and we’ve gotta support the farmers! Plus I love the Ocean Spray commercials. Go here to see their funny Thanksgiving video, and download their free recipe e-book, too. The farmers totally remind me of Jeff! Andy was up there for the harvest a few years ago and his whole body was sore from wading through the bogs. I really would like to see the farm someday, before Jeff goes on to something new.

2. My FavorITEST EverEVER EVERRRRR sandwich was the “Plymouth Rock” made by the lovely deli employees at my local Safeway grocery store. Every other week I would do my grocery run and stop by the deli to order my Plymouth Rock, and only a Plymouth Rock would do. The #10 sandwich on the board. Only made on the Multigrain roll. With the real, thickly sliced roasted turkey breast, mayo, jellied cranberry sauce, some thick slices of Havarti cheese {until then I didn’t even know that I liked Havarti} and green leaf lettuce. Heaven in a sandwich. Fast forward a few years where I now live in the middle of nowhere Missouri with no Safeway within a few states of here. You and I can {more like have to} make a reasonable facsimile of this sandwich, just use your favorite roll, and pile it up nice and thick with the rest of the ingredients. If you like cranberry sauce, I promise you won’t be sorry.

3. They’re RED! What more can I say?

4. Cranberry cookies. {They’re really bars, but who cares?} This recipe is from my mom, and made it into our family cookbook. I bake these every year at Christmas time and always get requests for the recipes. We moved to Missouri in November, and when the girls in Andy’s office found out we were moving, they mourned the loss of him bringing in plates full of these babies. Yum!

Cranberry Cookies
¾ cup shortening
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped nuts
Cream shortening, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, salt and baking powder and blend. Fold in cranberries {just toss them in whole} and nuts. Spread evenly on a jelly-roll style cookie sheet. Sprinkle butterscotch chips on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Go see what all the other Winter Bizarre-ies are doing at Scribbet's blog!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Are you prepared?

With so many natural disasters and other emergencies around the world, especially the fires in California, it makes us more aware of how fragile life can be. How prepared are you if a natural disaster came your way?

When it's time to "Fall Back" or "Spring Forward" an hour, it's also time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors and CO2 detectors, check that your fire extinguishers are still charged, and we do one more thing; we update our 72 hour Emergency Kits.

Last night for Family Home Evening we did just that. Since we have a small house, we've been keeping our kits in our unheated, un-insulated, very unsavory garage. I'm hoping to carve out a little space in the house so we don't have to beat off the spiders if we need to grab them and go.

We (by we I mean Joe and Monkey who did this without asking permission) unloaded everything and then we (by this I mean Andy and I) went through it all and decided what needed replacing, adding, or cleaning, and Natalia made a list of what we need from the store.

The backpacks were thrown in the washer, then all of the clothing. Today new clothes will be replacing the old, outgrown clothes. This is hard to keep up on, since growing is something kids do constantly. I find it helps to pack clothes and shoes that allow a little growing room.

Here is a great checklist from Rachel Woods at to help you get started, or update your existing kit.

I hope we'll never have to use these, but as my Grandma Hall used to say, "Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance!"
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